What’s your name and where are you from?
I am Michael McLing and I am from Wetumpka, a small town down in Alabama.
What classes do you race?
I race Schoolboy 1, Schoolboy 2, 125 B/C, and now 250 B.
How did you get into motorcycles?
When I was about 5, my dad had bought me a four-wheeler and I was flying around our pond on it and hit a tree root and crashed. It messed my face and mouth up. I was bleeding and my mom was hysterical and mad! She made my dad sell it, so he got me a little dirt bike. It just so happens that a couple of months after that mom got us some tickets to go see Nitro Circus and some of the riders were staying in the same hotel as we were mom and I went down to get our dinner and those riders were in the lobby and they talked to me and gave fist bumps and it was awesome! After we got home I started riding my dirt bike more and thought I was bad like the Nitro Circus guys and trying some of their tricks in our yard, especially when I ran it into our swimming pool in the dead winter time while my mom was working from home and dad was hunting. That didn’t go over well with her either, but hey, she is the one that bought us those tickets right?
Tell us about your first race.
My first race was at a track in my home state, Crossbone MX. We didn’t know anyone or anything about dirk bikes. My neighbor worked with a guy and his son raced. Mr. Lee talked to my dad and he invited us to a track just to ride on. I’d never been on an actual track but dad thought it would be fun and something different than our yard that I was tearing up with ruts. While we were at the track, Mr. Lee invited us to come race that next weekend. Race? I had just ridden this track once but why not? So it had rained the whole week leading up to the race. I am 6 about to be 7 and never raced a dirt bike before in my life. We pull up and I see all these people and kids and dirt bikes and I’m going to race. The track was muddy and deep. I think I probably fell over in the mud over a hundred times and these dads and my dad were picking me up every single time. After the race, this man came over to my dad, shook his hand introduced himself, and said “Is that your boy? Whatever you do keep that boy on a dirt bike, that kid has a heart in him that just won’t quit.” That was Mr. Bill Rinehart, he and my dad became real good friends and I raced against his son. After that race it was on! We were hooked on racing and went to a lot of races here in Alabama.
What other sports do you like?
I like football, fishing, and hunting.
Describe a typical day at the track for you.
For me, a typical day at the track starts with prayer, mom cooking breakfast, and dad checking the bike out to make sure it’s ready for racing. I go race my races, come back to our trailer, and dad and I talk about my race. There’s a lot of time between my races so I go hang out and talk with my friends. I almost missed one of my races once at an Area Qualifier and my mom was so mad! After all of my races are over for the day, dad and I prep the bikes for tomorrow’s races, wash bikes and gear. We usually eat dinner and try and work on having a better day tomorrow than we did today.
Favorite meal to have before you race?
My favorite meal to have before racing is one that another rider’s dad had shared and he gave my mom the recipe. It’s noodles with chicken.
Best moment on a motocross bike?
The best moment on my bikes was 2016 at the Southeast Regional at North Carolina MX Park I was racing my 65, got a really bad start like started dead last and I knew I had to finish in the top six to make it to Loretta’s in this race. The next to last lap I was on fire and wanted it so bad and passed a lot of kids and made it up to 3rd and when the race was over I went to the impound tent and I was so excited that I had just punched my ticket to Loretta’s. They asked any protest and another rider barely raised his hand said I do. The referee said ok what are you protesting and the rider said there’s no way he can be faster than me and pass all of those kids. My dad had already walked off going to the trailer to celebrate that we were going to Loretta’s and my happiness was about to be taken away?! The other rider’s parent came up there and asked what was going on and was told what it was and he said oh no we aren’t protesting! My trainer, Mr. Nario Izzi was there with me and he was so proud! I actually saw him and my mom and dad crying that day. It was so special because it was Father’s Day and I made them proud of me.
Best road trip story.
My first year going to Loretta’s 2016. It was a story in itself to get there and then it was surreal! The best experience of my life. Racing 65s and 85s, had some almost deal last gate picks, ups and downs in my races but the best was it rained and stormed and 65s were the first race of the day. it was raining when I got up and told my dad “Do you hear that? It’s raining!” I told dad it’s going to be a good day. That was the muddiest race ever, even muddier than my first ever race. It was the last race for the 65s and kids were falling everywhere, bikes blowing up or overheating and mom, dad and Mr. Nario were all screaming for me. I got up to 3rd, dropped back down to 9th, and came across the finish line in 5th, giving me an overall of 9th in the 65 class for the week. I made it to Loretta’s for the first time ever and I even finished with a 9th overall. I am just a weekend riding and racing kid and I did it!
What’s your favorite track to ride?
I am fortunate to have several of the best tracks here locally. Monster Mountain, Crossbone MX, and Millcreek.
Who is your favorite professional racer and why?
Ken Roczen is my favorite racer because he has such a huge heart with the will to win and overcome obstacles.
Who would you like to thank for helping you out?
I don’t get to answer this question a whole lot but there are some really important people in my life that I am thankful for. First and foremost, I thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. My mom, she is always pushing me and of course, taking pictures of me. She keeps me fresh in gear and goes without so I can have nice things. Mom is my warden, she keeps me straight with my grades at school, at home, and in my social life. My dad, he is my rock. He goes above and beyond to keep me safe, keep my bikes spot on, and always tries to make sure everything is working perfectly with them. He is up early every single day working and providing for me and mom making sure we are financially able to race and goes to bed late most days meticulously maintaining my bikes. Nario Izzi, this is the man that got me to where I am today racing. When I started training with him I didn’t know